Pence sets rules for more ‘Sagamore’ awards

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Many more residents are set to receive "Sagamore of the Wabash" designations under new Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

The Pence administration will allow each of the state's 150 lawmakers to nominate two residents each year for the recognition, which honors distinguished service. The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported Wednesday that Pence's chief of staff circulated the new rules among state lawmakers.

The new rules could mark a large jump from former Gov. Mitch Daniels, who awarded 245 "Sagamores" during his eight-year tenure.

Pence would have to work to match the numbers reached by previous governors, however. Former Gov. Robert Orr conferred the honor more than 4,200 times in eight years and former Govs. Evan Bayh and Frank O'Bannon each topped 3,000.

According to the state's history of the award, Native American tribes used the term “sagamore” to describe "a lesser chief or a great man among the tribe to whom the true chief would look for wisdom and advice."

The award was created during the term of Gov. Ralph Gates, who served from 1945 to 1949. Each subsequent governor has issued the awards on their own terms.

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